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[270] Ferguson's brigades of cavalry presented a bold front on the east bank, and with artillery opened upon our column to dispute its crossing. Kilpatrick promptly ordered all his artillery into position, and in a very few minutes Lieutenant Bennett's section of the Board of Trade battery had “dried up” the rebel artillery most effectually. Quickly dismounting the First, Third and Fourth Ohio, and Fourth Michigan cavalry, by order of Kilpatrick, Minty formed in line of battle, when our artillery discharged four destructive volleys of grape and canister into the rebel rifle-pits, and instantly the men rushed forward upon the double-quick, with a cheer, to the bank of the river, where a deadly fire was poured into the rebels at short range, dislodging their sharpshooters. Our column at once crossed the river on the stringers of the burned bridge.

Leaving the Seventh Pennsylvania, one section of artillery, and all the led horses on the west side of the river, Minty advanced with his brigades on Jonesboroa, a town on the Atlanta and Macon railroad, twenty-one miles south of Atlanta — the Fourth Michigan being deployed as skirmishers, with the First Ohio, Colonel Eggleston, and Fourth United States, in line of battle, with one section of artillery in the centre, and the Third Ohio, Colonel Sidell, and Fourth Ohio, Lieutenant-Colonel Robie, following in column. With this formation, Minty at once advanced and drove the rebels before him into the town, from the houses of which the rebels opened a sharp but not very destructive fire upon our lines. Not wishing to unnecessarily sacrifice the lives of his men, Minty ordered forward his artillery to the skirmish line by hand, to within a very short distance of the buildings in which the rebels had taken lodgment. While he was preparing to riddle the buildings with his grape and canister, the rebels, deeming “discretion the better part of valor,” retreated, mounted their horses, and evacuated in disorder. Our men charged after them into the town. Reporting the possession of the town to Kilpatrick, the Third division was quickly brought up, and then commenced the destruction of the town.

This was just before dark. The men went to work with a will, put the torch to the railway buildings, court-house, and public property; details from the command tore up and burned about three miles of the Macon railway. A brisk wind sprung up, and very soon the flames spread to stores and other buildings, and over two thirds of the town was burned to the ground, together with considerable public property and effects of the citizens.

Ferguson and Ross, while the town was being razed, were reinforced by one infantry brigade, and took position immediately south of our forces, intrenching themselves by felling timber, &c., &c. As Kilpatrick's object was not to whip the enemy, but to destroy the railway, the same night he struck east from the railway about five miles, and then marched direct for Lovejoy's Station, the First brigade being in the advance, and the Second brigade (Long's), bringing up the rear. A few minutes before our rear skirmishers were withdrawn from the town, another infantry force arrived from toward Griffin. Resting for the night some distance from Lovejoy's Station, at daybreak of the following moining, our flight from Jonesboroa was discovered by the enemy, who started in pursuit with their cavalry.

At one and a half miles from Lovejoy's, the dirt road upon which our column moved, forks--one branch leading direct to the station, the other crossing the railroad a quarter of a mile north of it. At this time the Second division had the advance, Minty's brigade leading, followed by Long's. The Fourth Michigan was detached from the command, on the northern branch, and succeeded in gaining and tearing up some distance of the track. About this time the main column that was moving down the direct road to the station, encountered the enemy's mounted pickets, which were driven by the Seventh Pennsylvania in a fine style. Skirmishing with the rebels continued, and when within a quarter of a mile of the station, a report was received that the Fourth Michigan had struck the railroad. Our forces were pushed rapidly forward, and at once received a fire from the enemy, when one battalion of the Fourth United States were dismounted and deployed, and brought up to the support of the Fourth Michigan, swelling the number who were engaged in tearing up the track to one hundred and fifty men. Before their line was fairly formed, a whole rebel infantry brigade, which was lying in ambush, with no skirmishers out, poured into the ranks of the working party, a terrific volley, and with wild yells that made the forests ring, rushed madly over the track-burners, killing, wounding, and taking prisoners nearly the entire detachment, who fought bravely until their arms were wrested from them.

Long's brigade was immediately formed, artillery placed in position, and the rebels were quickly repulsed, with severe loss from the effect of our grape, canister and bullets.

Scarcely had the roar of artillery and the sharp musket's crack died away, as the rebel infantry fell back, broken and demoralized, when a new danger presented itself. With wild yells a whole division of rebel cavalry (Jackson's), five thousand strong, composed of Armstrong's, Ferguson's and Ross' brigades, were seen coming down on the keen run, accompanied by ten pieces of artillery.

Ere Kilpatrick had time to learn what was coming, a spirited attack was made upon the rear, the shells came tearing across the fields, and bursting over our columns. Kilpatrick's keen eye soon comprehended the situation. Minty's brigade was instantly withdrawn and hastily formed on the right (or south) of the road in line of regimental column. The Seventh Pennsylvania, Major Jennings, on the right, Fourth Michigan, Major West, on the centre, and the

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Robert H. G. Minty (6)
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